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8 Movie Stars Who Let an Oscar Slip Through Their Fingers

Sometimes a brilliant actor or actress turns down a role that ends up nabbing that prestigious little gold statue. For example, Gene Hackman almost starred in The Silence of the Lambs in 1991, and Richard Gere let go of Wall Street in 1987.

But what about narrow choices from more recent years? We at Bright Side found out which stars could’ve won Oscars in the 2000s but let it fall into the hands of other actors or actresses.

Gael García Bernal (Dallas Buyers Club, 2013)

Dallas Buyers Club is a 2013 drama-biography starring Matthew McConaughey. Gael García Bernal was considering the co-leading role, but ultimately never closed the deal. Instead, it went to Jared Leto and got him an Oscar for Best Supporting Role.

Angela Bassett (Monster’s Ball, 2001)

The romance drama, Monster’s Ball, from 2001 stars Halle Berry. She won an Oscar for Best Leading Actress for this performance and was the first woman of color to do so. However, the award could’ve gone to Angela Bassett instead. She refused the role “because it’s such a stereotype about black women,” she told Newsweek.

Liam Neeson (Lincoln, 2012)

Daniel Day-Lewis won an Oscar for this dramatic historical biography (as Best Actor in a Leading Role), but it could’ve been Liam Neeson standing in his place. However, after waiting for years for the project to start, Neeson just felt that the new script “had no connection with [him] whatsoever” as he stated in an interview with GQ.

Anne Hathaway (Silver Linings Playbook, 2012)

The Oscar for Best Leading Actress in this 2012 romcom-drama went to Jennifer Lawrence, though it could’ve been Anne Hathaway’s instead. Unfortunately, there was a scheduling conflict: by the time the project got rolling, Hathaway was committed to The Dark Knight Rises.

Harrison Ford (Syriana, 2005)

Syriana is a dramatic political thriller by director Stephen Gaghan, and it scored George Clooney an Oscar for Best Supporting Role. He played a CIA agent named Bob Barnes, but that role was originally offered to Henry Ford. Ford refused it because he “didn’t feel strongly enough about the truth of the material,” but has since stated that he regrets his decision.

Emma Watson (La La Land, 2016)

The music comedy-drama, La La Land, won a whopping 6 Oscars total. The award for Best Leading Actress went to Emma Stone, but it could have been won by her namesake, Emma Watson. However, Watson refused the role because of scheduling conflicts with Beauty and the Beast.

Hugh Grant (The King’s Speech 2010)

This historical biography drama has won 4 Oscars, including Best Motion Picture of the Year. Colin Firth as King George VI won Best Leading Actor, but that award could easily have gone to Paul Bettany instead. Bettany said that he regrets missing a chance to “work with such great people”, but that he turned down the role to have more time with his family. Interestingly, Hugh Grant also could’ve been King George in this movie, but he turned it down too.

Sandra Bullock (Million Dollar Baby, 2004)

Another multi-winner, this sports drama nabbed 4 whole Academy Awards. Hilary Swank took home the Oscar for Best Leading Actress, even though Sandra Bullock was attached to the role for years. It was difficult to get a studio to make the film, and by the time it took off, Bullock had committed to Miss Congeniality 2 and couldn’t make the schedules work.

Do you think these stars made the right decision? Can you imagine what these movies would’ve been like with the original casting? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Bright Side/Films/8 Movie Stars Who Let an Oscar Slip Through Their Fingers
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